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The Opportunity Of Boredom

18 Mar 2012, 15:11 UTC
The Opportunity Of Boredom
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What is boredom? Why do we get bored? Is boredom a thing of value? Is it just an accident that so much art is boring?

by Alva Noë

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images Watching the grass grow

Dr. Taub, one of the characters in NBC's television show House, has infant twins. He loves them and wants to care for them. The problem is: he finds spending time with them unbearably boring. Their books put him to sleep. He finds it awkward and unnatural to engage in their play. Taub feels inadequate as a father. I have felt the same way at times. It's great to be with your kids, especially while you do something else. (My infant daughter sleeps besides me as I type this.) Judging by all the mothers paying more attention to their smart phones than their children while sitting on park benches, this is probably not an unusual phenomenon. I went to a screening of Tarkovsky's film Stalker at the New School in Manhattan last week. There was a panel discussion and Geoff Dyer, whose new book ...

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